Back from DragonCon

I got back from DragonCon at 2:00 AM Tuesday morning. My brain has now recovered enough to write an AAR.

I love DragonCon. It is Nerd Mardi Gras. It is a non-stop party. Officially there are something like 70,000 people there, spread across a couple of blocks of Atlanta. Unofficially, it is insane. I couldn’t tell you how many people show up for the parade, but it packs the streets. The line to get into the dealers room is 3 blocks long, and even then, it moves.

If you haven’t been there it is kind of hard to describe. DragonCon isn’t like any other convention. It is far more energetic than most. The average attendee  age is young, probably mid-twenties. DragonCon isn’t snooty or pretentious. The people there don’t  care what you are into. They’re not stuck up. They’re not going to tell you that you aren’t a Trufan. They’re there to have fun, see cool stuff, make friends, and have a big party.  Well, actually it is more like 200 smaller parties that are all smooshed up next to each other.

There are thousands of costumes. I took a lot of pictures, but they were on my phone and I’m a terrible photographer. Just google DragonCon pictures and you’ll see what I mean.  If you want to see why this giant nerd party attracts so many single young people just google Women of DragonCon.

In between the parties, there’s programming. I don’t know how many hundreds of events there are, but if you’re into something, there’s an event for it. I was there for 4 days and I saw a fraction of it. I barely even made it into one of the three main hotels because I didn’t have any panels in the Marriot this year.  My schedule was weird, with no panels the first day, only one the second, and then five panels, a signing, and a luncheon on the third day. That was hectic.

This year I did two signings at the Missing Volume, and a bunch at Kevin J. Anderson’s Wordfire Press booth. I can’t even guess how many books I signed. It was a lot. I don’t know if it is my record (that might still be SLC ComicCon) but I signed books pretty much nonstop.  Because I’m signing at the Wordfire booth at two more cons over the next three weeks, they ordered a lot more books than they thought they would need for me. It didn’t matter. The fans still about cleaned them out.

One quick note on Sad Puppy related topics, because it came up a lot in conversation over the last few days. CHORFs like to constantly bitch about how cons needs more “diversity” and “inclusion” while their snoot fests are white as mayonnaise and the average attendee is 87 years old. Meanwhile, DragonCon looks like America and is fucking awesome. Why? Because normal people just want to be entertained and have fun.

I have to admit it was pretty neat how many people came over to talk to me about the Sad Puppies campaign. Lots of them weren’t regular fans, or had never heard of me before this, but they were in the same boat, and were tired of the preachy, bossy, snooty, pretentious nonsense sucking the fun out of their hobby too. Oh, those folks loved the wooden buttholes. Strangely enough there was only one really negative douchebag experience I’m aware of, and sadly that doofus didn’t talk to my face, but instead got all bitchy at the poor unaffiliated dude running the booth I was signing in, and I missed it!

But then I was presented with the super prestigious LaMancha award during the super prestigious first annual LaMancha award ceremony, by the ever prestigious John Ringo.

LaMancha 1


LaMancha 2

The fact that the gnome is tilting at that windmill with a nazi tank is just one of the added touches that make the LaMancha so prestigious.  It is crafted out of the finest southern bass wood and delicately hand carved with a poignant message. I was honored to accept this prestigious award on behalf of Brando TorgersOn, because he’s busy defending America.

I was on a bunch of panels about a bunch of different topics, and if I try to list all of the various writers I was on there with I’ll probably screw up and forget somebody. So since I have post-DragonCon brain I’ll refrain from listing them all. It is kind of fun to be on a panel with somebody you know absolutely hates your guts and talks lots of crap about you online, but when that happens I just smile and remain totally polite. I’m a professional like that. It is always amusing how I’m never called a racist/sexist/homophobic hatemonger of hatey hate-hate in person to my face.

As for highlights, the urban fantasy panel was a lot of fun, because we had me, Jonathan Maberry, James Tuck, John Hartness, Carrie Vaughn, Faith Hunter, and Laurell K. Hamilton.  That is a great bunch of authors there. Those are also some of the top sellers in the entire genre, all on one panel. Sadly, no Butcher, even though he was at the con I never crossed paths with him. I’ll see him in a couple of weeks at Salt Lake ComicCon (we are playing Fiasco one night!). Speaking of Jim Butcher, total geek cred nerd moment for me, I was told about this later by people who’d been in the audience. Butcher was on a panel and they were asked the question, other than your stuff name one thing that you would really like to see made into a movie or a TV show, and Butcher said Monster Hunter International… Oh, hell yeah.

After that panel I got to hang out and eat dinner with Laurell and her crew. They’re just great people.

DC Hamilton

Then late Sunday night I was on what had to be one of the weirdest panels I’ve ever been on. It was First Contact Improv. Now, keep in mind, I’m not a comedian. I don’t know how to do improv comedy. This was run by Speaker to Lab Animals, everyone’s favorite super genius neuro scientist Ted Roberts.  The panelists/test subjects were me, Keith DeCandido and Kal Spriggs. The set up was that we were on a mission to make first contact with an alien species, and Speaker would pull random cards out that complicated matters.

It got off to a rocky start. None of us really knew what we were doing. Some people in the audience left. But then about ten minutes in… Well… It started getting weird.  I figured what the hell. Let’s run with this. And then it got weirder. The aliens communicated only via LOLcat memes, but it didn’t get really weird until we discovered you could get high by licking the alien LOLcats. And then it got really weird.

So by the end we were trafficking in shaved, butter greased LOLcat anus, through the empire of giant penguins who communicated through flatulence, and then it just degenerated into fart noises and me can-can dancing with the audience.  Long story short, I’m told it was really funny, and I may have inadvertently touched Speaker inappropriately while I was pretending to be Jar Jar Binks, but it was okay, because he was William Shatner… No. Actually that makes it worse somehow.

dc badges

One cool thing about going to cons as a minor celebrity is that fans make cool stuff for you and give you presents. I FedExed a couple of boxes home. There was really no way I could get the four foot long spiked club through the TSA.

DC club

I also got this, machined from a solid chunk of aluminum (which sadly, is in my missing carry on, but more on that later).  There was a bunch of other stuff given to me too.

DC Bubba

And Larry Elmore gave me an autographed print of the Son of the Black Sword cover. Larry is the coolest person you’ll ever meet.

DC Elmore

There were several people doing cosplay from my books. I thought I got a pic of the husband and wife hunter team, but I didn’t. But holy crap, check this out.

DC cosplay

That’s just freaking cool.

But you know you’ve made it when Cookie Monster and Dora the Demo Expert show up to your panel (and give you Torx wrenches!). Yes. Not even cosplay from books, but cosplay from internet threads!

DC Cookie Monster

CM was his usual self, but after REDACTED REDACTED we got it all worked out with the Atlanta PD.

I started writing up the awesomeness of US Airways managing to screw up my flight home and losing my luggage, but that turned out to be big enough that it is getting its own blog post. 🙂

EDIT: I forgot to talk about the Monster Hunter panel! It was me, John Ringo, and Toni Weisskopf. It was fun. They put us in one of the big movie star rooms and we still filled most of it. We talked about the upcoming MHI projects, Ringo read from Monster Hunter Grunge.

Also, very important, because this is the first time I think we’ve officially announced it (well, Toni was there, so that makes it official) after the next solo MHI novel by me (back to Owen) there is going to be a Julie Shackleford novel called Monster Hunter Guardian cowritten by me and Sarah Hoyt! There you go. That’s now official.

Adventures with US Airways
MHI Series II Challenge Coins- Update #1

122 thoughts on “Back from DragonCon”

  1. Saw you on two panels, got a book signed, and enjoyed the hell out of the rest of the weekend.

    I especially enjoyed the panel with John Ringo that consisted with a lot of you guys taking shots at each other’s characters (or mostly John taking shots at Owen) and all the goodies coming up for the Monster Hunter universe.

    Thanks for coming out!

    1. Didn’t have a chance to hit many panels this year at D*Con, but did get to one of yours. Have to say, your expression on the MHI panel when John R. kept talking about even more MHI books was hillarious. Very much looking forward to all of the books that were mentioned, even if John R. does end up writing more books in your world than you have 😉


  2. Two thoughts:

    1) Sympathy on the US Airways screw up. I believe that all airlines hate their customers, but USAir is the only one that has screwed me over to the point where I return the favor.

    2) That windmill is so going down!

  3. My son and I are so excited to see you at Rose City Comic Con. Plus the added benefit of seeing Kevin J Anderson and David Farland at the same time. It’s going to be awesome!

  4. Soooooooo, any updates on MHI progressing from “I’ve sold the rights” towards production of a TV show?

      1. I don’t think it qualifies as “NEWS” if you aren’t allowed to talk about it. That is called “SECRETS”.

          1. My buddy Felix would probably consider it. He’s another hulking 6’5 Portagee with a follicle deficiency problem and a more-than-passing resemblance to the International Lord of Hate.

            He also has family near Kansas City. I’ve been pushing for him to drop in for a visit next year and attend MidAmeriCon with a badge saying “LARRY CORREIA STUNT DOUBLE” or something similar…

  5. “there is going to be a Julie Shackleford novel called Monster Hunter Guardian cowritten by me and Sarah Hoyt! There you go. That’s now official.”


    1. I KNOW. The grin on my face is starting to hurt, but I can’t stop grinning. OH HAPPY DAY

      and more MH universe books, OMG> *sets up another ‘coin jar’ *

  6. “There is going to be a Julie Shackleford novel called Monster Hunter Guardian cowritten by me and Sarah Hoyt! There you go. That’s now official.”

    Awesome. My money is ready and waiting.

    1. My book talks are ready and waiting. Seriously, can the two of you keep it clean? I write this with nothing but love: if you can keep the profanity implied and the consequence-free sexual antics … um. Not. Thousands of WA state teenagers will thank you.

      Seriously guys.

  7. Now I’m little confused. There would be another MHI book between Nemesis and Guardian and planned MHI septology become octalogy?

    1. I’ve never nailed down exactly how many books there will be in the series, mostly because I don’t know yet. When I first plotted this out there were 5, but that’s before I did things like Alpha and Nemesis, which expanded the scope a lot.

      1. I’ll be honest. I really want to see a series of short stories based on Milo and his inventions. Like Owen has to justify the expense report file labeled “Milo” to the IRS and they have a finance officer to employee discussion where Milo has to explain all of his purchases, with back story, to Owen and an IRS person.

    2. The answer is simple. As long as we encourage Larry’s fevered imagination with our hard earned shekels, he will keep writing MH novels.

      Everybody wins!

  8. Careful with that spiked club! The balance point is too far from the end of the grip to use it baseball bat-style. Better to treat it as a quarterstaff for dwarves.

    1. How about using it as a “stick of correcting errors” on US Airways morons?
      Or maybe a “Socialist Justice Weasel Walloper?”
      Any other suggestions out there?

    2. I don’t understand why he couldn’t get it through a TSA agent? I mean, it’s not like you’d have to even get through clothing; most of them have the a$$hole in plain view…..

  9. Larry,

    It was an absolute pleasure meeting you and thank you for taking the time to chat with the Mrs. and myself as well as autographing our copy of Nemesis. This was the Wife’s first DragonCon (actually her first Con at all) and she was enthralled. Unfortunately, after you mentioned that your eldest daughter has developed an attachment to your custom STI, the Mrs. has added one to her “want” list. “If it’s good enough for the ILOH’s spawn, it should suit me nicely.”

  10. I wish I’d gotten to see more of the tracks you were (this happens every year… there’s always more you want to see and so many schedule conflicts)… but thank you very much for autographing my copy of MHI 🙂 I’ll be picking up Son of the Black Sword when it comes out.

    Hope you’ll be at DCon in ’16!

  11. It is a distinct and unique honor to be co-awarded the supremely prestigious, utterly elite, fantastically rare, and even more fantastically coveted LaMancha. How many thousands of Emmy or Grammy or Tony or Hugo awards are gathering dust across the world? But the LaMancha . . . it’s like the line from Highlander, “There can be only one.”

  12. Thanks for signing my copy of Hard Magic. I wanted to get something signed by you, you were in a hurry, but still gracious enough to sign the book. Dragon Con is one of the coolest things I have ever attended, and this was my third. Hope you get to many more, Larry.

  13. Yay DragonCon 😛

    Yeah, they always say its 50-70K people, but I always think its more than that.

    And yeah, Larry Elmore is great.

    1. I think if the DC staff admits to more than that, the Atlanta Fire Chief will be unable to resist blowing a gasket over the gross violations of the city fire code. 😛

      1. The crowds are immense. Especially during the parade because a LOT of people go to see it, and don’t actually go into the con. The parade is free if you can find a spot to view it.

  14. Now… Now I am thinking of going to DragonCon. Curse you work overcommitments and insufficient funds! Must make more money, soonest. For Con. And books!

  15. I hate you so much Larry!

    Haven’t been to DragonCon since 2008 = Hate you.
    Tease me with THREE MHI books (Ringo, yours and Sara + YOU!?!?!) = FML, I hate you.
    More tease about a show about MHI (Walking Dead, The Strain and you….squeeee!) = I hate you like ISIS.
    I was bored with some free time this weekend (and NOT at Dragoncon!) and having seen you mention World of Tanks, I tried it and am now addicted. = I don’t eat or sleep for days because I WILL get that tier V Sherman tank, hate you from the downtown heart of Ruinberg.

    Hooooooon, indeed!
    Now, back to getting my sorry armored butt blown up!

    Any ballpark guesstimates when any of these books will be out (E-arc?). I’d ask about the show, but like…SECRET.

  16. Larry, and others who’ve been there, if you enjoy costuming but don’t know much about science fiction, would this be a good party to attend? Or would I be dazed and confused? Also, I turn 56 in a couple of weeks, would I be too old for this crowd?

    As a reasonably objective outsider, I think this sounds like an excellent event at which to institute the Golden Manatee Award, and leave the Hugos to the old folks. Except me. I honestly had never heard of the Hugos before 2013.

    1. If you’re asking about Dragoncon, they usually have a track with things going the entire con devoted exclusively to costumes, costume making, etc.

        1. That looks like Nerdvana. Do you get ANY geezers and geezerettes there? I would hate to be mistaken for the chaperone.

          1. He’d have to sing the Viking Song.

            Fortunately the words are easy, “SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! WONDERFUL SPAM! SPAM!”

          2. I could take my son! He loves being a Viking and since he’s 6′ 4″ he’s convincing as one.

            (Note to Self: Right now start trying to talk kid into growing big bushy beard.)

            Note to readers: at firsT I typed “bishy beard.”. “Attention: would the Viking with the bishy beard please report to the front desk, his mom is looking for him.”

          3. Speaking of vikings…. I really, REALLY want to see Michael Z. Williamson at a Con dressed as his alter ego…. Crazy Einar.
            Also, he’s rumoured to make AND sell sharp stabby things that resemble Viking collectables.

          4. Oh, yeah, there are all ages there. And these geezers and geezerettes are actual fans, Gategeezers of Trufandom, Just be prepared to see some … surprising stuff.

            A couple of years ago I took my teen-aged daughter. As we came around the corner, there was an older gentleman, grinning his head off, getting his picture taken with a young woman wearing nothing but bikini bottoms and green body paint for a Poison Ivy costume. (And this was in the afternoon. I’ve never been brave enough to stay until dark.) This was probably 4 years ago, and neither of us ever mentioned it until we headed downtown this weekend and my daughter said, out of the blue, “I hope we don’t see any more Poison Ivy’s this year.”

          5. There’s lots of old people too. I’m just talking the average, in that it is a far younger crowd. I wasn’t joking when I said it looked like America.

          6. A couple years ago I went with my nephew, and he commented how for 3 days everybody forgets all their problems and are just having fun. It does have that feeling.

    2. Trust me, there is no age limit on DragonCon. Ever hear Nat King Cole’s ‘Christmas Song’? The line about ‘for kids from one to ninety-two’ is very appropriate.

      1. Yup, that’s me. I still color Easter eggs. And I’ve noticed that the people who laugh never turn one down when offered one.

  17. Larry, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you, and the Monster Hunter/urban fantasy panel was great. I love the humor that you and John Hartness injected into the discussions and I now have several more books/stories to add to my “to read” pile. Hope to see you back at D:C soon.

  18. It was great meeting you and Toni Friday evening at the Baen Bar. That was a long talk we had; so glad the ice chest that was engraved “do not sit here” did not collapse on you!

  19. Wish I’d been able to go. The urban fantasy panel alone would have been worth the price of admission.

    And I LOL’d at the MHI Space Marine dude, and again at Cookie Monster and Dora. (The Cookie Monster thread deserves its own shrine in the Internet Hall of Fame, right next to Gecko 45.) Those outfits are just too awesome for words.

    1. If you ever get a chance, ask Mad Mike about Gecko 45.

      I did at DragonCon a few years ago and learned some cool stuff. 🙂

  20. ” there is going to be a Julie Shackleford novel called Monster Hunter Guardian cowritten by me and Sarah Hoyt!”

    Is that much anger, hate, sexism and racism (not to mention general stupidity) even legal in this country?

    In the REAL world, I must say: Oooooohhhhh……

    1. I’m chucking at the irony that this book shares it’s name with a certain puppy-kicking newspaper in the UK. I wonder whether everyone’s favorite Z-list writer will have anything to say about that.

  21. “Julie Shackleford novel called Monster Hunter Guardian cowritten by me and Sarah Hoyt! There you go. That’s now official.”

    Well, what are you waiting for! Take my money in exchange for another entertaining book!

    1. I thought CM got his PUFF exemption after he spent the 1960s doing black ops for the CIA. IIRC, he had just gotten back from Cambodia when he landed the Sesame Street gig.

  22. Would we be correct in assuming Mr. Ringo engraved that award after social activities had been underway for some time already?

  23. Hi Larry – Good to see you smiling and having a good time. As it should be. Best to do your own thing, enjoy your life (writing and friends) and not waste time worrying about what other people do. Life’s too short to be resentful.

    1. On the contrary, I’ve been fine. You can see that a system is screwed up and needs exposing without getting all personally emotionally bent out of shape.

  24. Larry,

    My wife, Robbie, and I were the husband & wife monster hunter team. We were using a lot of old SWAT gear I had left over from my LE days. We really enjoyed seeing and talking with you again. I’ll let you know when I get my hands on those surplus SIG AMT .308’s and when that container ship full of ammo comes in.


  25. “Nerd Mardi Gras”???? Where were all those nerdy women of Dragoncon when I was in college? I’d say google Worldcon 2015 and then google Dragoncon 2015 and ask yourself which is the future of fandom and where you’d rather go to.

    1. Sadly, this. Worldcon is no longer the center of world SF/F fandom. And this from a long time convention-goer. IMHO, both DragonCon and SDCC have not only passed WorldCon but left it in clouds of dust in their rear-view mirrors.

      1. I did the produce live offspring thing so hadn’t done anything but local cons for about 12 years when Sasquan hit my geographical backyard.

        I was shocked at how small and ticky-tacky “world” THE big con had become. And te conrunners were bragging at how “puppy” money/interest had zpruced things up this year.

        It was sad.

    2. Sorry, Wild Ape. Misread your comment and that it was another person with ‘Wild’ at the beginning of his name who has been trolling in here.

    3. you are pretty much better off with any of the commicons. NYCC is somewhat smaller..ish then San Diego version, but that’s in a way is a good thing as they are a LOT more organized and you don’t have to overnight your spot for major panels. Dragoncon and Pax are insane but awesome. Dragoncon is sort of everything goes, while pax (both prime and east) is more videogame oriented. comicons do a LOT of sci-fi and fantasy. smaller more loacn cons can also be a LOT of fun. be prepaperd to let your wallet get a LOT lighter in artist’s alley if you are anything like me 😛 nerdy women go to places that are fun, not some stodgy self important cons that most readers don’t even know exist.

    4. They were right there as early as 1986; of course, then they were dressing up as Orion slave girls, but the costume was the same…..

  26. Larry,
    Really enjoyed meeting you, and getting signed copies of Warbound and (!!!!) Son of the Black Sword. It was one of the highlights of this years trip to DragonCon. I love your description of the con as “Nerd Mardi Gras”. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where “Captain America, Dr. Who and Gandalf the Grey walk into a bar” isn’t the setup to a joke, but a description of what happens every five minutes.
    BTW – Son of the Black Sword is AWESOME. I almost wish I hadn’t read it, since now I’ll have to wait over a year to read the next volume.

  27. omg. OMG. Julie novel? how am i supposed to wait until its out??? what Julie is one of my fave fictional badasses, so her getting her own novel is super exciting! 😀

    1. Well they’re supposed to start work on it in January so I say we can fairly start nagging on… February 29, 2016?

  28. Time to get the blood sugar back up when you read “Torx wenches.” Of course, that’s after going off to see the Women of DragonCon, so…

    (Still not as awesome as the Dragon Lady of DragonCon video from last year. STILL trying to figure out where costume ends and lady starts…)

    1. I am now going to try to convince my wife to dress up as a Torx wench for Halloween. “But honey, it’ll be awesome.”

  29. AARs like this are gonna get me interested in going back to D*C. It’s been years, but damn, that looks like it was a good time.

  30. I was the accountant from central Alabama, married to a woman named Heather at Dragoncon. It was both an honor and a privilege, sir, and I hope to see you back next year.

  31. I had an awesome time, myself! I didn’t get to (nor was I really planning to) to go to any panels, since I was mostly there for the nighttime activities and seeing some people I hadn’t seen in way too long, but I did at least manage to run into you in the vendor’s hall. I was the guy dressed as a Mistborn with a leather breastplate (sorry I didn’t think in advance to try putting together something from one of your books instead! :op ) who made you sign the same book three times.

    For people who haven’t been to Dragoncon, but have been to other conventions, I think it’s important to emphasize just how thoroughly it TAKES OVER those few blocks in Downtown Atlanta. Most cons are centered around a convention center, or something, and only spill out a bit into the nearby hotels for a couple minor events that don’t really feel like part of the main attraction. Not so for Dragoncon. Since it completely takes over the 5 biggest hotels in the area, it makes it feel like the entire downtown area IS the convention, not just the place the convention takes place within. It’s really hard to describe if you haven’t been there. (I suppose it also helps that, with all the events within hotels rather than a convention center, you can pretty much drink when and wherever, if that’s what you’re into. But it’s all geeks and nerds, so they’re the FUN kind of drunks!)

    Anyway, I was wondering if you ever made it to the Armory. It was two rooms full of weapons, one full of melee weapons and armor, and one full of firearms, on display in the bottom floor of the Hyatt, with various demonstrations (no live ammunition inside the hotel though, unfortunately :op ) and lectures by people who seemed pretty knowledgeable. It was pretty awesome, and seemed right up your alley. Here’s a link if anybody’s interested, but they had way more stuff this year than those older pictures would make you think:

  32. Soooo much fun to meet you in person…hopefully next year Me and my brother will have a certain Agent Franks related item for you (I an’t saying which yet)

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